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Former aide lodges complaint against councilman Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Feb 19 2011 12:00 PM




A former aide to Chula Vista Councilman Rudy Ramirez in court documents claims the two-term representative fired her in September because she refused to deposit a check from an event sponsor she believed overpaid.

Shari Watson, 44, through an attorney, drafted a complaint against Ramirez alleging wrongful termination in violation of public policy, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The complaint alleges that in April 2010 Cox Communications had agreed to sponsor the annual International Friendship Games at a cost of $1,000.

Watson contends Ramirez's office received a $1,000 check in July and deposited it into the International Friendship Games account.

However, two months later Watson allegedly received an email from the city's finance department stating that a $2,400 check had been made out to the The City of Chula Vista/International Friendship Games.

Watson contends that when she raised concerns about a possible overpayment in a draft e-mail to Ramirez, Ramirez wrote, "Deposit check."

In a later telephone conversation, when Ramirez asked Watson if she had deposited the check, she told him that she was not comfortable doing so and that she believed it would be unethical, Watson contends.

She said Ramirez called her 30 minutes later and terminated her.

Ramirez says that Watson was fired for her "inability to take direction" and that her claim against him is not legitimate.

"There were issues with her, she received verbal warnings and a few months before got written reprimands," he said.

"I tried to work with her and make her a good employee and in a lot of ways she was, in some areas, but she lacked in others," Ramirez said. "She became more of a liability."

Although Ramirez said that Watson's termination had nothing to do with the check, he said that she was not good at managing financial affairs and specifically cited the International Friendship Games as an example.

Watson's complaint states that by November Cox Communications clarified the $2,400 was a payment to the city for a utility bill and not the Friendship Games.

Watson directed all queries to her attorney Josh Gruenberg.

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